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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley leaders launch immigration reform group

Category : Business

Zuckerberg says America’s current system is ‘unfit for today’s world’ and wants to push for immigration reform

The billionaire founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has launched a new initiative to push for immigration reform, describing America’s current system as “unfit for today’s world.”

The group, called, (pronounced Forward US), is backed by other Silicon Valley leaders including Google chairman Eric Schmidt, Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer and Reid Hoffman, the billionaire co-founder of Linkedin.

“We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants. And it’s a policy unfit for today’s world,” Zuckerberg wrote in an editorial for The Washington Post to launch the lobby group.

“To lead the world in this new economy, we need the most talented and hardest-working people. We need to train and attract the best. We need those middle-school students to be tomorrow’s leaders,” he wrote.

“Given all this, why do we kick out the more than 40% of math and science graduate students who are not US citizens after educating them?”

Zuckerberg said would push for:

● Comprehensive immigration reform that begins with effective border security, allows a path to citizenship and lets us attract the most talented and hardest-working people, no matter where they were born.

● Higher standards and accountability in schools, support for good teachers and a much greater focus on learning about science, technology, engineering and math.

● Investment in breakthrough discoveries in scientific research and assurance that the benefits of the inventions belong to the public and not just to the few.

This year demand for skilled-worker visas, known as H-1Bs, outstripped the entire year’s supply in the first week that companies were allowed to file applications.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that processes applications, said earlier this month that it had already received more than 65,000 H-1B applications, the congressionally mandated limit. Application for the 20,000 visas allocated to foreign nationals with advanced degrees from US universities also exceeded supply in a few days.

Daniel Costa, immigration policy analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, said reform was needed but granting more H-1B visas as they stand was not the answer. A recent EPI study found all the top 10 firms applying for H-1B visas were outsourcing firms. Costa pointed to a 2011 study by the Government Accountability Office that showed most of the visa go to workers hired for mid-level information technology positions such as systems analysts or programmers who are then paid less than their US counterparts.

“Demand for visas may well not be because there is a need for skilled labour but rather because there is a demand for workers who can be underpaid,” said Costa. He said the GAO study showed 54% of those on H-1Bs were paid at the lowest levels allowed and that the majority of the workers for the outsourcing firms were sent back after their visas expired.

“This is not a bridge to bringing in the best and the brightest. These people are brought in, they learn the job then they are rotated back to India to carry on doing the job there,” he said.

Last month Senator Chuck Grassley reintroduced a bill aimed at tightening restrictions on the H-1B visa program.

“Somewhere along the line, the H-1B program got sidetracked. The program was never meant to replace qualified American workers, but it was instead intended as a means to fill gaps in highly specialized areas of employment,” Grassley said.

“When times are tough, like they are now, it’s especially important that Americans get every consideration before an employer looks to hire from abroad.”

VIDEO: Romanians ‘not lazy workshy people’

Category : Business

British newspapers have portrayed her fellow Romanians as “lazy workshy people” the Cheeky Girl singer Monica Irimia said in her This Week film on immigration.

Link: VIDEO: Romanians ‘not lazy workshy people’

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With this student visa policy, Cameron is throttling our cultural exports | Polly Toynbee

Category : Business

The wealth created by our arts and universities is being choked. The US and others are happy to gain from those we shun

Exports plummeted alarmingly in this week’s figures, hard on the heels of the credit downgrading. One economic woe follows in another’s footsteps, a domino of disasters. This is the death spiral, longer than a lost decade.

Remember when trade was to be our great escape? Government forecasts said net trade (exports minus imports) would rise by 2.4%, as we stole a march on our neighbours. Since then sterling has dropped by a quarter, its biggest fall since 1945. But devaluation has brought no export bonanza, with net trade falling. Yet 70% of government cuts are still to come and David Cameron promises “further and faster” deficit cutting.

So how might Britain earn its living? What are we good at? What’s our USP? A decade ago financial services was the only game, Labour believing the City’s own myth that it was the golden goose. Since those eggs broke, the City has lost international market share. An economist for the bank UBS tells the Financial Times that despite offering financial services 25% cheaper due to the fall in the pound, “no one wants them”.

So what else can we sell? Two exports rich and ripe for growth are our universities and arts, as valuable to life here as for the wealth they earn abroad. Yet the government actively stymies both, obstructing those two sectors where Britain has – but may easily lose – an international competitive trading edge.

Attracting foreign students to prestigious universities should be a booming export trade. Five chairs of parliamentary committees joined in an unprecedented joint call for visas for non-EU students to be excluded from the Home Office’s cap on net immigration figures, a cap blocking an £8bn industry. Genuine university students should count as temporary visitors, valuable in cash and culture for our trading future. But this week the abrupt government answer was no. Immigration policy trumps all else.

Though David Cameron was in India last week, promoting the value of studying in Britain, Universities UK says foreign student numbers are falling. The Migration Matters Trust, run by the Tory MP Gavin Barwell, warns that 24% fewer Indian students and 28% fewer postgraduates came last year. Faced with complaints about the difficulty in getting UK visas compared with Germany or the US, Cameron in India claimed there was “no cap, no limit”, nor any limit to the “graduate level” jobs foreign students can take. That was disingenuous: potential students are put off by stiff visa barriers and turn elsewhere.

Cameron will plainly miss his “net” immigration target of fewer than 100,000 a year by 2015: it now stands at 183,000. With no control over how many people leave or how many EU migrants arrive, choking off visas for non-EU students has been the softest target. While bogus colleges are rightly banned, all universities and well-respected institutions should see their applicants fast-tracked and welcomed.

As soon as Cameron returned from beckoning wealthy Indians he headed straight to Eastleigh to compete with Ukip in immigration fist-shaking – as if India, its traders, politicians and students might not be listening too. India’s investment abroad is growing, its trade has doubled in two years, but Britain’s share of that is falling. As Barwell warns: “The tone of our domestic debate in immigration matters internationally.”

Universities and their cities urgently need the money foreign students bring, but what matters most are the cultural bonds forged with future leaders and opinion-formers. Canada, America and Australia are gaining from those we shun with our rebarbative, dilatory visa system and increasingly xenophobic politics. As Conservative leader, Cameron is best placed to change the terms of the immigration debate – if he had the spine. Of course there must be secure borders and well-enforced rules, or all sense of community is at risk. But if Cameron faced voters with sobering facts on shrinking trade and the value of cultural exchange he could persuade them away from Ukip simplicities to keep the xenophobes in a small corner. Instead, an invaluable export is harmed by refusal to exclude student visas from the cap.

Look now at the neglect of our other main asset. All the arts – theatre, music, painting, video installations, dancing, writing and the rest – punch magnificently above our national weight. Look at War Horse, Les Misérables and hundreds of productions nurtured by state subsidy that earn billions around the world. Look what the BBC brings – yet it suffered a purely vindictive hit to the licence fee. The Arts Council’s minuscule budget was cut by 30% and took another hit last December. It gets just 0.05% of government funding and earns over 10% of our exports. Pound for pound, its phenomenal yield is unmatched in cash or rich social value by any state investment. Despite cuts, councils invest heavily, contributing almost half the money the arts receive. Why? Liverpool, Manchester or Brighton’s leaders will extol what art does for their cities, in the cashable and the ineffable.

Any accountant calculating how Britain can earn and where we should spread our wings would look at state priorities in bafflement. The City destroyed us. Defence and recent wars cost a fortune and bring neither pelf nor respect. Soft power is cheaper than the military kind, and it works. But don’t look to this month’s budget for an iota of vision to re-imagine how we might be, to reflect the vision we saw fleetingly in that Olympic ceremony. No chance, even on the hardest of commercial reckonings, that Cameron and Osborne will invest in Britain as a potential powerhouse of creativity and intellectual energy.

Barack Obama’s state of the union address to focus on jobs and economy

Category : Business

President will also touch on immigration reform, withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and North Korea’s nuclear tests

Live blog: state of the union kickstarts Obama’s second term

Barack Obama will use his state of the union address to paint his second presidential term as an opportunity to restore “the basic bargain” which built the US into the world’s greatest economic power by ensuring prosperity for the great bulk of Americans and not the privileged few.

The president will tell Congress that it is this generation’s task to return to a time when US governments represented all the people, according to extracts released by the White House. But he will also pledge that his proposals to bolster employment will not add to the deficit.

“It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love,” the president will tell Congress. “It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation of ours.”

The key to that, the president will say, is a focus on the creation of “good middle-class jobs” – an acknowledgement that even though the economy has picked up over the past four years, many people were forced from well-paid work into minimum-wage jobs.

“That must be the North Star that guides our efforts. Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: how do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?” he will say.

“Tonight, I’ll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for and fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago. Let me repeat – nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.”

The Republican response to Obama is to be delivered by Florida senator Marco Rubio – a reflection of his party’s attempts to reposition itself as more moderate after its defeat in the presidential election and to win back Latino voters driven away by Republican legislation and rhetoric on immigration.

Rubio intends to challenge Obama’s assertion that it is government policies that decide the fate of America’s middle class.

“This opportunity – to make it to the middle class or beyond no matter where you start out in life – it isn’t bestowed on us from Washington. It comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business,” he will say, according to extracts released by Rubio’s office. “Presidents in both parties – from John F Kennedy to Ronald Reagan – have known that our free enterprise economy is the source of our middle class prosperity. But President Obama? He believes it’s the cause of our problems.”

Rubio will note that the economy shrank in the last quarter of 2012 and blame the president’s policies, including tax increases for the wealthy.

“If we can get the economy to grow at just 4% a year, it would create millions of middle class jobs. And it could reduce our deficits by almost $4tn dollars over the next decade. Tax increases can’t do this. Raising taxes won’t create private sector jobs. And there’s no realistic tax increase that could lower our deficits by almost $4tn. That’s why I hope the president will abandon his obsession with raising taxes and instead work with us to achieve real growth in our economy,” Rubio will say.

However, the senator’s remarks risk suggesting to Americans that the Republican party is not changing and remains primarily committed to protecting the rich.

The emphasis on jobs and the economy is expected to be central to Obama’s speech but the administration has indicated he will also touch on a wide range of other ambitions for his second term including comprehensive immigration reform. He intends to announce he will withdraw a little more than half the 66,000 troops the US has in Afghanistan by this time next year as the Pentagon prepares for the final pullout of combat forces by the end of 2014.

Obama is also likely to be pressed into addressing North Korea’s latest nuclear weapons test even as he calls for a sharp drawdown in the number of nuclear warheads, proposing to drop the US arsenal from about 1,700 to 1,000.

The president is also expected to call for a measure of gun control following the massacre of children in Newtown.

The White House and Democratic members of Congress have invited dozens of victims of gun crime or their relatives to attend the speech. Among Michelle Obama’s guests will be the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, 15, who participated in the president’s inaugural parade last month and was then killed in a shooting in Chicago.

Among others attending the speech will be former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was badly wounded in a shooting two years ago.

To counter the move by supporters of more gun control, a Texas congressman, Steve Stockman, has invited the rock musician Ted Nugent to attend. Nugent is an ardent supporter of the National Rifle Association who last year said he would either be “dead or in jail” if Obama were re-elected.

Obama is also expected to tick boxes on the need to combat climate change and speak in favour of clean energy, although there appears to be little chance of the president getting major environmental legislation through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Ed Miliband: Old and New Labour no longer relevant in Britain today

Category : Business

One Nation Labour will reach out to voters alienated in the 80s and resist vested interests, party leader will tell Fabian Society

Ed Miliband is to set himself apart from old and New Labour when he declares that both strands in his party’s postwar history have lost relevance in 21st-century Britain.

In his first speech of the new year, Miliband will say his new one nation Labour will reach out to voters alienated by the party in the 1980s while standing up to the vested interests courted by the party in government over the past decade.

“New Labour rightly broke from old Labour and celebrated the power of private enterprise to energise our country,” Miliband will tell the Fabian Society on Saturday. “New Labour, unlike old Labour, pioneered the idea of rights and responsibilities. From crime to welfare to antisocial behaviour, New Labour was clear that we owe duties to each other as citizens.”

But Miliband will say that New Labour, which was famously launched with a “prawn cocktail” charm offensive in the City of London, failed to stand up to big businesses. He will say: “By the time we left office, too many of the people of Britain didn’t feel as if the Labour party was open to their influence, or listening to them.”

The Labour leader sees this speech as a chance to show that his address to the Labour conference last year, in which he first spoke of creating a one nation party, was not just a simple political slogan.

He regards it as a coherent political project which will achieve two broad goals: give an honest account of the party’s past and set out a governing framework for the economy, society and politics.

On the economy, Miliband believes a Labour government would provide greater opportunities than the Tories and New Labour, which “skewed the system to the powerful few”, in the words of one source.

Miliband believes his society theme highlights his determination to focus on greater responsibility from top to bottom, with bankers expected to show restraint in remuneration and responsibility in lending, and welfare recipients expected to seek work.

On the politics theme, Miliband will also focus on empowerment – helping people to feel involved and appreciated.

One example is on immigration, as Miliband makes clear that people should feel free within certain bounds to voice concerns.

He will distance himself from his mentor, Gordon Brown, who famously described the Rochdale pensioner Gillian Duffy as a “bigoted woman” after she raised concerns with the then PM about immigration during the election.

Miliband will say: “I bow to nobody in my celebration of the multi-ethnic, diverse nature of Britain. But high levels of migration were having huge effects on the lives of people in Britain – and too often those in power seemed not to accept this. The fact that they didn’t explains partly why people turned against us in the last general election.”

Miliband will also say that his new approach stands in stark contrast to what is described as the government’s “old trickle-down divisive ideology” in which taxes are cut for the rich while benefits for the poor rise below the rate of inflation.

He will say: “Can David Cameron answer this call for one nation? This week shows yet again why he can’t. At the Ronseal relaunch, all we saw was an empty tin with no vision for the future of our country and an attempt to divide the country between scroungers and strivers.”

Tritent International Agriculture, Inc. (UNMK: OTC Link) | merger and acquisition agreement with Beijing Union Express Co. Ltd.

Category : World News

Int’l Announces its Acquisition of

Union Express Co. Ltd. in Beijing, China

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RIM gets its groove back with BlackBerry 10

Category : Business

Shares of RIM rose 5% Thursday following news that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency will begin a pilot program early next year to test the company’s new smartphones and the operating system.

Read more from the original source: RIM gets its groove back with BlackBerry 10

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Pre-Marketing: VC shakeout

Category : Business, Stocks

Also: What immigration reform really means. And media mentions of fiscal cliff vs. debt ceiling.

Original post: Pre-Marketing: VC shakeout

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Barack Obama’s second term: change he can believe in | Editorial

Category : Business

Barack Obama’s steeliness has earned him his second term as president of the US. Now he needs to seal it

Put to one side for a moment who won the most polarised and bitterly contested presidential election of modern times. Think about what won. Healthcare reform won, not only because Barack Obama’s victory ensured that the law cannot be repealed in its entirety, but symbolically, too, on the ballot paper in Florida. The amendment banning federal mandates for obtaining health insurance would have had no practical effect after the supreme court upheld federal law, but the antis were denied even the opportunity of sending a political signal. Key programmes such as Medicare and Medicaid, whose budgets would have been slashed, had a good election night, too.

More voters were convinced that the rich had to pay more taxes than were not. Social liberalism notched up victories – from Maine and Maryland becoming the first states to approve same-sex marriage, to Wisconsin, where Tammy Baldwin was elected as the first openly gay member of Senate. Pro-choice campaigners saw the political fortunes of their nemeses Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock implode. Public support for the death penalty was, according to some, on the wane. The electorate may be just as polarised, but after a result like this it is harder to argue that America is as gridlocked as the dysfunction in Washington suggests. Something has changed. The electorate is dynamic, vibrant and capable of embracing new ideas. It has only just started, but the change that Mr Obama heralded before his first term as president may finally be on its way.

Coalition of the ascendant

And whose voices prevailed? They have been variously called the coalition of the ascendant and New America. These groups are demographically on the march: voters below the age of 44, minorities, college-educated women voters. For Mitt Romney to have used the immigration debate as a way of feeding red meat to the party faithful, and to have alienated so many Latinos as a result, could have been a costlier decision in swing states than suggesting that Detroit should go bankrupt. While the Republicans seemed to eject from their big tent the very people they needed to win the election, the Democrats were concentrating Karl Rove-like in targeting auto workers and each of these demographics. Perhaps it is no accident that Mr Rove’s evening as a television pundit ended in a bust-up with Fox News, who rightly called Ohio for Mr Obama. The Democratic campaign realised what the self-obsessed GOP could not: the coalition of the ascendant represents a structural change. In 2004, George W Bush won 44% of the Hispanic vote. Four years later, John McCain got 31%. On Wednesday, Romney got just 27%.

The party that failed to see this is belatedly feeling the consequences of being too old, too white, and too male. The Republican caucus returned to the House of Representatives could make the same mistake of thinking that they had a good election and that little for them has changed. They still control the house, the Democrats the Senate and the White House. On the surface government remains gridlocked. But any of a large field of next-generation leaders pondering their chances for 2016, such as the senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, the man to whom Republicans might turn to broaden the demographic appeal of the party, will also be counting the cost of continued Washington gridlock, especially if it is on immigration reform. It will be interesting to see just how hard and how long the house speaker, John Boehner, maintains that Mr Obama lacks a mandate to break the cold war on taxes.

A steelier president

To remind America that he still considers himself on a mission, that his mission is ambitious, and that he remains, after all the setbacks and disappointments of his first term, the same man, Mr Obama consciously reserved the best words of the campaign for his victory speech. Nice though they are to hear, the mood today is very different from 2008 and the test of his new-found executive purpose will come soon. He has got just over seven weeks before Americans will be hit with a combination of massive spending cuts and tax hikes. Unless Congress acts, the economy will go over this “fiscal cliff”; and over the next weeks the president can expect to hear incessant demands to broker a deal with Republicans.

The event is real enough. Should it happen, a

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Boris Johnson urges ministers to let ‘best and brightest’ come to UK

Category : Business

London mayor’s remarks highlight concerns over potentially damaging effect immigration cap may have on economy

The London mayor Boris Johnson is to re-enter the highly charged immigration debate as he urges ministers to “allow the best and brightest to come here, contribute and thrive” – remarks that underline his concerns at the way the coalition’s immigration cap may be damaging the UK economy .

He also endorsed the establishment of a new cross-party immigration group, Migration Matters, to act as a factual and campaigning counterweight to Migration Watch, the frequently cited anti-immigration pressure group.

In a letter to the new group, Johnson describes how the Olympic and Paralympic games have provided a “tremendous boost, showcasing Britain and London right around the globe”.

He says: “The priority for my administration is stimulating jobs and growth in the capital. In an increasingly globalised economy success depends on encouraging a talented and diverse workforce to London.

“We want a well-managed migration system that secures our borders and allows the best and the brightest to come here, contribute and thrive.”

He also praises the formation of Migration Matters, saying “your principle aim is an important one in an area often riddled with inaccurate claims, differing opinion and consequently strains and tensions”.

The new group is to be co-chaired by Barbara Roche, the former Labour immigration minister, and Gavin Barwell, the Conservative MP for Croydon South.

The new group has the backing of business executives and senior union figures, and due to its all-party basis it will not take a specific view on an immigration cap, apart from to call for it to be implemented so the best and brightest are not excluded.

Johnson has set up a wide-ranging inquiry into the London labour market, skills, immigration and why many London-born workers do not seem to be able to find work in key jobs growth areas.

Ed Miliband also intervened in the debate on Thursday, saying: “I think in terms of low-skilled migration I think it is too high and I think we need to do something about it.”

He added: “The issue that has not been properly addressed by politicians is when people come into the country, particularly from eastern Europe, are they coming in a way that has economic benefits not just for the country as a whole but for people in it across the board, or is it being done in a way that is used to undercut people already here and exploit those coming here?”

The Labour leader said he was opposed to the government’s plan to get the numbers down to tens of thousands, and said there was no prospect at this stage of the free movement of labour in the EU being abandoned.

Johnson has asked whether deeper cultural issues prompt the mismatch in the south-east labour market.

He has asked: “Why do immigrant workers seem to look at a job in McDonald’s or Starbucks as a stepping stone, while some who were born here apparently regard it as a dead end?

“Is the problem just to do with pay and conditions? Is it really true that immigrants will work harder for less? Is there really a difference in the ‘work ethic’, or is that an urban myth?”